By Virginia Califano
About two dozen seniors gathered at the current Friendship Center on Tuesday’s rainy morning to listen to a presentation on the new Philipstown Senior Center, and to provide their input. County Architect Ben Harrison, along with Deputy County Executive Bruce Walker and Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra, outlined all the bells and whistles of the proposed center, which is to be in the Lahey Pavilion at the Butterfield site. The goal is to finalize the drawings by the start of the new year, so construction can begin on or around April 1.
Scuccimarra encouraged the seniors to share their ideas as Harrison presented the proposal. “Your input is important. This is going to be your center,” she said. Scuccimarra thanked the seniors for their tenacity throughout this entire project. Walker said he found documents dating back to 2006, which means this has taken “much too long,” and he was excited for this next step.
About half of the existing Lahey Pavilion will be used for the Senior Center, an area measuring about 6,000 square feet. The plans for the new center took into consideration the many unique needs and desires of the senior community.
The layout plan is warm and inviting, with the option to join rooms together with extendable walls. There are no steps: everything is on the same level with smooth, safe flooring, with an abundance of handrails. There will be handicap-accessible restrooms for men and women on each end of the center. Many seniors clapped and cheered when they learned of the proposed fireplace, and possible outdoor garden area that will exist beside the dining room.
The 1,700-square-feet dining room will hold about 80-85 people. It connects to a coffee station and sitting area (130 sq. ft). The dining room is placed beside an 1,100-square-feet multi-purpose room, which can be further divided into three more rooms, with the walls that can slide back to open and close off rooms.
The kitchen, at roughly 700 square feet, will be fully functional, with an eight-burner stove and multiple ovens and sinks. Hot food and cold food will be served on separate ends of the space between the kitchen and dining room. The kitchen has the ability to have food cooked on premises.
“Most of the space is actually for the public to use,” Harrison said, noting that office space only takes up about 200 sq. ft, and storage space is sufficient yet not overpowering.
“We’ve been working really hard with Ben [Harrison] and MaryEllen [Odell] and Pat Sheehy, picking out colors and throwing them out, and getting more,” Scuccimarra told the PCNR. “It’s really exciting. Ben has great insight on the mechanics of things. I love meeting with him because he always comes up with great ideas.”
Anyone interested in viewing the plans can visit the Friendship Center in Cold Spring, which is in the American Legion building behind Town Hall.